Bringing it all back home has special resonance for Red Sox
Boston side claim first World Series at Fenway Park since 1918
Boston Red Sox players charge from the dugout to join Koji Uehara and David Ross after defeating the St Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game Six to win the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park, Boston. Photograph: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
Even with the finish line in sight, Boston took one last deep breath on Wednesday night. The Red Sox were just one out from clinching the World Series with a seemingly insurmountable 6-1 lead but a history of heartbreak had taught Bostonians that nothing can be taken for granted in baseball.
They need not have worried. The unmistakable thud of the ball pounding into the glove was all it took for 95 years of anguish to disappear and trigger one of the wildest parties seen in New England
“I knew this was going to be a special year,” said Boston slugger David Ortiz, the outstanding player of a best-of-seven series won 4-2 by the Red Sox. “When we started rolling, nobody ever stopped the train.”
The St Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter was the last man standing between the Red Sox and the championship but when he swung and missed at a fastball from Boston closing pitcher Koji Uehara that catcher Davis Ross caught, it was over.
For the first time since 1918, the Red Sox had sealed a World Series in their beloved Fenway Park home after the 2004 and 2007 titles were both secured on the road.
Boston erupted in emotional celebration, a little over six months after the city was left in a state of shock following the deadly marathon bombings.
The Red Sox players charged out of the dugout, hugging and tackling each other each other before collapsing in a mass heap on the diamond.
When they returned to the locker room, they sprayed each other with champagne and slugged away at the half-empty bottles. Inside the old, historic stadium, the crowd roared in jubilation.
Grown men, whose fathers and grandfathers had died waiting for the Red Sox to win a World Series at home, high-fived and fist-pumped each other in the bleachers and threw plastic beer cups in the air.
As the clock approached midnight, the new generation of young fans, one used to seeing the Red Sox win, tugged at their parents’ shirts, ready to go home and wondering what all the fuss was about.
Outside the stadium, the party was in already full swing. Fireworks lit up the night sky and the bars and restaurants in Yawkey Way were overflowing with revelers, a scene repeated all over a city that had triumphed after the April 15th tragedy had left its streets silent, empty and soaked with blood.
“In a time of need, in response to a tragedy, you know, I go back to our players understanding their place in this city,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
“They kind of, for lack of a better way to describe it, they get it. They get that there’s, I think, a civil responsibility that we have wearing this uniform, particularly here in Boston.”
The healing power of sport has always been a contentious issue with an ability to unite people countered by its capacity to divide.
Yet, if ever there was an argument that sport can succeed where politicians, armies and even religions fail, then the Red Sox provided a compelling case.
Wittingly or otherwise, the Red Sox emerged as a beacon of hope for the city after the marathon bombings, which left three people dead and 264 injured, and shocked America.